NEW YORK (WFAN) — It took him four tries, but in January 2016 Mike Piazza finally found his way into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Arguably the greatest hitting catcher to ever play, Piazza received 83 percent of the vote and joined Ken Griffey Jr. as the only players voted into Cooperstown that year.
On Jan. 8, 2016, he called in to Mike Francesa’s show on WFAN to discuss how it felt to be elected into Cooperstown.
“Euphoria, man,” Piazza told Francesa. “It’s overwhelming, I’ve got to tell you, but an amazing honor.”
Drafted in the 62nd round in 1988 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, thanks to a favor to his father by then-manager Tommy Lasorda, Piazza defied all the odds and went on to play for five teams during a stellar 16-year career in which he batted .308 with 427 home runs and 1,335 RBIs.
Piazza’s father, Vince, played an integral role in his start and was predictably overcome with joy when he found out his son was getting into baseball’s Hall of Fame.
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to my dad today, but my wife talked to him and said, ‘He’s still crying,'” Piazza told Francesa. “My dad, as you well know, he had a major stroke a year and a half ago, and we’re still very blessed to still have him. He likes to joke. He goes, ‘It was my dying wish for you to get into the Hall,'” Piazza said with a laugh.
“It’s very special for him to experience this,” he added. “As I’ve said many times, he believed in me sometimes a lot more than I believed in myself.”
PHOTO GALLERY: Mike Piazza Through The Years
The 1993 National League Rookie of the Year with the Dodgers, Piazza appeared in the All-Star Game 12 times, including six trips during an eight-year run with the Mets. Piazza, who batted .296 with 220 homers and 655 RBI with New York, led the Amazin’s to a spot in the 2000 World Series.
Piazza remains arguably the most revered player in Mets’ history and has said on many occasions playing in the pressure cooker that is New York brought the best out of him.
Of all the pressure-filled moments Piazza faced as a Met, none have stood the test of time like Piazza’s Sept. 21, 2001 home run off of Braves pitcher Steve Karsay in the bottom of the eighth inning at Shea Stadium.
“It’s so inspiring for me for people to come up to me and tell me how much that did mean to them,” Piazza said of the home run. “I try to step away from saying that it was any sort of heroic act but it is nice and obviously touching when people tell me how much it means.”
On Thursday, Piazza confirmed that he would indeed don a Mets cap upon induction into the Hall. The ceremony will take place this summer in Cooperstown.